09/09/2001 11:00PM

Collect Call collects yet another paycheck


VANCOUVER, British Columbia - Heads turned when Rod and Lorraine Rodriguez spent the highest price ever in a Washington State Sale for Collect Call in the Marshall Naify Dispersal Sale last August. Sure, she had looked good winning her maiden in the Lassie Stakes at Hastings Park but $250,000 seemed like a lot of money for a 2-year-old filly who had just finished third in a minor stakes at Emerald Downs. It turns out she was a bargain for the Rodriguez family and with the $105,000 she took home winning the British Columbia Breeders' Cup Oaks at Hastings Park on Saturday, her total earnings are now $379,055.

Since Collect Call ($2.90) left the Pacific Northwest she has been knocking heads with some of the best 3-year-old fillies in the United States, so it was not surprising that she was sent off at a short price in the Oaks. Breaking from the rail Collect Call battled through sprint-like fractions of 22.70 seconds and 46.03 with both Inish Glora and Carson City Red. After they had gone just over six furlongs, Carson City Red, who had been parked outside the whole way, gave it up and it turned into a match race between Collect Call and Inish Glora with Collect Call drawing off down the stretch to score a two-length decision. Final time for the 1 1/8 miles was 1:50.45. Collect Call's connections had to wait for their celebration as Jake Barton, who was aboard Inish Glora, claimed foul against Collect Call's rider Chris Loseth, for allegedly hitting Inish Glora across the nose with his whip.

"I never felt anything but there was a chance that I could have hit her," said Loseth who looked very concerned when he came back to the unsaddling area.

"When Chris went to whipping his horse," said Barton, "he caught my filly across the bridge of the nose and it stunned her for a minute and she never regained the momentum that she had."

The incident isn't noticeable on the video replay, but there's a tree blocking the camera's view at the crucial point and thus no way for the stewards to verify the allegation. "Even if there had been an incident, we're not sure if it would have been enough to change the order because it appeared that Inish Glora never stopped running her race," said British Columbia Racing Commission Steward Keith Smith.

Collect Call's trainer, Christopher Paasch, came to Vancouver hoping for a solid win by Collect Call in the Oaks, and after getting what he wanted, Paasch was making plans to run her in the Breeders' Cup Distaff. "We have one more race in mind before the Breeders' Cup and if she does what she did today we'll head for there with her."

Second-place finisher Inish Glora is also headed out of town. "We're shipping to Woodbine to run in the $250,000 Wonder Where Stakes Sept. 29," said her trainer Kathy Bremner. "It's a mile and a quarter on the turf and it's restricted to Canadian-breds. She's by Regal Classic so she should like the turf."

Jake Barton might have been disappointed with his second-place finish in the Oaks but he was all smiles after winning the $104,889 Jack Diamond Futurity aboard David Forster-trained Long Rifle ($11.10) Sunday. Barton, who came out from Woodbine to ride Inish Glora, was named on Long Rifle in the Futurity when leading rider David Wilson opted to ride 3-5 favorite No Time Flat, who finished a disappointing sixth.

The last time they ran a Futurity with more than 10 horses was in 1979 when fillies ran against colts and geldings. Pachena, who went on to win the B.C. Oaks as a 3-year-old, beat the boys despite breaking from the 12-hole. The fillies now have their own division and when 11 horses were allowed to start in the $104,166 Sadie Diamond Futurity on Saturday, the connections of Beautiful Stranger weren't pleased that she had drawn the 11 hole. It didn't matter though, as Beautiful Stranger ($16.10) was in striking distance early and then drew off to score a 3 1/2-length win over Grace for You.